2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Sean Newcomb

Entering the 2019 season, Newcomb was expected to make the next step and become a mainstay for the Braves rotation behind Mike Foltynewicz. Long story short, that didn’t happen… sort of. He had an interesting season, but most would agree the Braves needed every ounce of the success he provided out of the bullpen.

2019 Stats

bWAR: 1.1 fWAR: 0.4 ERA: 3.16 WHIP: 1.317 IP: 68.1 K/9: 8.6 G: 55 GS: 4 SV: 1

Season Summary

Newk was sent down to AAA in mid-April after walking 8 batters in just 12.1 innings to start the season. He made 3 starts for Gwinnett, allowing only 5 runs in 18.2 innings pitched, a 2.47 ERA. The biggest statement for Newk was that in the second and third starts he didn’t issue a single walk. A walk-less start was almost unheard of for him and a big reason why he was called back up to the majors. Upon returning to the big league club in May he became a horse for an unreliable bullpen.

Out of the pen he allowed 18 earned runs in 56 innings pitched, a 2.89 ERA. More importantly, he was able to show improved control with a 3.375 BB/9; 2017 and 2018 combined he sported a 4.70 BB/9. The only noticeable “change” was Newcomb’s pitch selection. We saw a decrease in his use of change-ups from 19.1% of his pitches in 2018 to just 6.9% in 2019. This brought an increase in fastball and slider usage, which we can probably use as the reason for his increased control. Additionally, according to FanGraphs Newcomb’s change-up has had a negative pitch value every year of his career.

Next Season Outlook

We can’t forget this was only Newcomb’s second full year in the majors and not everybody can be Mike Soroka out of the gate. He still has work to do, but the ceiling is sky high. The Braves are planning to let Newk work as a starter in Spring Training. Why not? If he can stretch that newfound control into 6+ innings, even better. If that fails, you can expect to see him back in the same role he was in 2019, a much needed trusty steed out of the bullpen.

Author: Matt P

Hello, I’m Matt Pocza! I am a 4th year finance and economics student at the University of Florida and I love the Atlanta Braves. I’ve played baseball my entire life, and I am a sidearm pitcher for the club team at Florida. I also enjoy scuba diving, football and business. Follow me on twitter @braves_rumors!

12 thoughts on “2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Sean Newcomb”

  1. From last thread:

    Billy Hamilton is not one of the MLBTR top 50 FAs. He’s also not one of the 10 honorable mentions. The 50th-ranked FA is projected to get a one-year, $3M deal. I would think that Hamilton would be available for about a $1M deal if they wanted him back. Depending on roster construction, that’s not a terrible idea.

  2. Newcomb is a really interesting player. Has he definitively taken himself out of a starter role? I’d say no, and if not for Atlanta, he could be really attractive to another team as a starter.

    With that said, he’s excelled in the pen, so why take him out of that role? Either way, he’s a really underrated player for us.

  3. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to give him one more chance to see if he can start this spring. Being he is 26 now though, if he falters, I think I look at him permanently as a great LH RP. That’s not the worst thing however. Atlanta absolutely has a need there.

    I wouldn’t trade him unless there’s a deal out there that just makes you think, “Wow!” In the Braves favor.

  4. As Earl Weaver used to say, “the best place for a rookie pitcher is in the bullpen”. I know it was Newk’s second year, but Earl was right: learn how your stuff works at this level in lower leverage situations and then you will be ready to succeed as a starter.

    Newcomb should start going forward.

  5. he has excelled in the pen, but right now we have at least 2 holes in the rotation so if he could excel there this spring that would help the team significantly.

  6. I don’t know if you’re gonna want to stretch Newcomb out to be a starter only to have 20 ST innings potentially forcing you to turn him back into a reliever. That’s a decision you have to make in the offseason and commit to it.

  7. Well, let’s see, we traded Simba for Newk and another piece of meat. If we were to trade Newk and a decent prospect for Wilson Contreras or Starling Marte, would that even the score?

  8. He could have flicked an attitude when going down and when he went to the pen. Next year he gets a shot. He blows it then he needs to go.

  9. He needs to completely scrap what he’s doing for a changeup and build a new pitch that doesn’t suck. I’m not sure how often that gets successfully done on the MLB level these days.

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